Sunday, August 06, 2017

Tell vendors reason behind nixing defence proposals: CIC

Times of India: New Delhi: Sunday, August 06, 2017.
In an order aimed at increasing transparency in defence procurement, the central information commission has said informing vendors of the reasons for withdrawal or rejection of proposals would go a long way in making the process more accountable.
Information commissioner Divya Prakash Sinha has noted that scams and kickbacks reported in the public domain made it necessary to make procurements as transparent as possible.
Sinha was ruling in an appeal before the CIC filed by an appellant who wanted details of a tender that had been floated by defence ministry , and the policy adopted regarding return of equipment before convening of the contracts negotiation committee (CNC). Sinha, while agreeing with the public information officer's contention that the information could not be shared under section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act, however held that the section 8(1)(d), concerning provisions for protection of trade secrets or intellectual property rights, required a closer look.
"Commission is of the considered opinion that there should be greater transparency and accountability in the process of defence procurement, in as much as the vendors should be apprised of the reason for withdrawal of proposals or rejection of proposals," Sinha said. He said that "more and more disclosure should be encouraged in such cases to avoid casting aspersions on the procurement process".
Sinha cited the defence ministry's procurement policy , which stipulates that compliance or otherwise, vis-a-vis the request for proposal parameters, would be communicated to all vendors at trial location itself. The appellant had asked for data on a project being helmed by PMO Suraj, the nodal agency in Army for managing all projects of electronic warfare (EW) systems.